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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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Plane catches fire at London Heathrow

In a separate incident at Manchester, another Boeing 787 Dreamliner was forced to turn back after take-off due “technical difficulties”.

Image: NBC News

AN ETHIOPIAN AIRWAYS 787 Dreamliner caught fire at London’s Heathrow airport today in the latest calamity for Boeing’s troubled jet, forcing the airport to shut down for an hour-and-a-half.

Heathrow suspended both its runways after the fire on the parked plane was reported at around 3.30pm It announced 90 minutes later that services were resuming but warned passengers to expect delays.

“Emergency services are currently dealing with the incident. No one was on board so there were no casualties,” said a spokeswoman for the west London airport.

Television images showed the Dreamliner surrounded by pools of foam, with three fire engines on the scene.

A Boeing spokesman told AFP: “We’re aware of the event. We have Boeing personnel on the ground at Heathrow and are working to fully understand and address this.”

In a separate incident another Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operated by Thomson Airways, was forced to fly back to Manchester Airport due to a “technical issue” after take-off today.

Boeing temporarily withdrew the Dreamliner from service earlier this year for modifications after concerns that batteries on board could cause fires.

The global grounding order was issued in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different jets, with one of them catching fire while the aircraft was parked.

Boeing has not been able to identify the root cause of the problems, but rolled out modifications it said would ensure they were safe.

In April, an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner — reported to be the same plane that caught fire at Heathrow — flew from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on the first commercial flight since the grounding.

- © AFP 2013.

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